People magazine reports that bestselling author James Frey is being accused of making up many of the incidents in his drug- and alcohol-abuse memoir A Million Little Pieces. The book is a pick of Oprah's Book Club. The Smoking Gun website claims that Oprah was conned.
Frey, whose graphic tale topped bestseller lists after being touted by Oprah Winfrey on her talk show, has threatened to sue the online publication over the allegations. In an article titled "The Man Who Conned Oprah," the Smoking Gun claims that Frey, 36, inflated claims about his criminal past, fudged court records and misrepresented his participation in a fatal car accident.
In comments to the site Frey "did, for the first time, admit that he had embellished central details of his criminal career and purported incarceration for 'obvious dramatic reasons' in the nonfiction work," the site says.
As Marianne Sanders, the mother of one of the victims in the auto accident, tells the Smoking Gun: "Everything that I believe he wrote, even about my daughter ... was not an actual, the way the accident happened or anything. I never heard his name in connection with it."
In his book, Frey claims he was questioned by police after the accident and recalls being blamed for the tragedy by Sanders' parents.
In a joint statement Monday, the book's hardcover publisher, Doubleday, and paperback publisher, Anchor, said: "We stand in support of our author, James Frey, and his book which has touched the lives of millions of readers."
On his own site, Frey called the Smoking Gun's article "the latest attempt to discredit me."
"So let the haters hate, let the doubters doubt, I stand by my book, and my life, and I won't dignify this bull--- with any sort of further response," Frey wrote.
The Smoking Gun article is called "The Man Who Conned Oprah." We're not sure what prompted The Smoking Gun to go after Frey -- usually the site posts legal indictments and charges in high-profile cases, mug shots of celebrities and the like.